Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

THIS & THAT: A Weekly Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes

Leave a comment

  • New CBS Sitcom ‘Living Biblically’ Brings Faith to Primetime. Brett McCracken writes “Living Biblically wants to be a comedy that both Christians and atheists can watch and laugh at—one that provokes both sides without belittling or dismissing them. This is not an easy task, and we’ll see if the show maintains this balance, without feeling boring or neutered, for the rest of the season.”
  • Christian College Thanks God for Victory in 5-Year Religious Rights Battle. “In a stunning turn of events, and some would add an answer to prayer, Wheaton College won a five-year battle against the contraceptive mandate implemented under the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act.”
  • Wheaton College’s Courageous Stance Leads to Religious Liberty Victory. Joe Carter writes “Wheaton did the hard thing, the unpopular thing, because they refused to compromise on what the school stands for. For their boldness they deserve the praise and admiration of those of us who still believe that we answer to a higher authority than the federal government.”
  • Restoring the Justice System. America now boasts the highest rate of incarceration in the world, but even more alarming are the system’s endemic injustices. Minority communities are far more afflicted by the justice system, a reality that affects the psyches of the children who grow up in them. Additionally, our system treats you much better if you’re rich and guilty than if you are poor and innocent. Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy, my top book of 2017 believes these realities are fundamentally changing our world, and he’s devoted his life’s work to finding solutions.
  • Parental Rights: A Casualty of the Transgender Revolution. Andrew T. Walker writes “This case should never have risen to the level it did. That it even reached a judge is a clear example of Big Brother confusing its role with that of Mom and Dad. It sets a precedent that puts not only the natural family but the well-being of children at risk.”
  • Actual Girl Scout Cookies Marketing Meeting. John Crist breaks down Girl Scout Cookies and their marketing plan.

Courtesy of World Magazine

  • Do Reproductive Technologies Oppose God’s Design? In this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper addresses the question “Does God desire some couples to remain childless to the point that using the sperm or eggs of a third person is resistance to his will? And (2) do you have any Scripture or any grace for those of us who are the product of reproductive technology, who feel a bit like we were sold off as a commodity and abandoned by a biological parent in order to make another family happy?”
  • 9 Bible Verses for Depression to Shine Light Into Darkness. Stephen Altrogge writes “Here are nine bible verses for depression. May these give you hope and strength as you wait for God to lead you out of the Valley of Darkness.”
  • Growing Old Graciously. Jared C. Wilson writes “I want the second half of my life to find me still moving. Life is not a sprint; it’s a marathon, and I prefer to finish strong.”
  • 3 Ways I Handle Conflict. Tony Dungy writes “Conflict is best seen as an opportunity to understand our differences, since that’s when conflict usually arises: when we see something different.”
  • The Slow Burn of Bitterness. Nancy Guthrie writes “No one ever says, “When I grow up, I want to be bitter.” But life has a way of handing us hurts that can collect, insults and offenses that seem to stick to our souls and refuse to let go.”
  • Burning Out: What Really Happens Inside a Crematorium. Four decades ago, less than 5 percent of Americans were cremated. Now that figure stands at nearly 50 percent. This is how cremation actually works, and the story of what happens to a culture when its attitudes about memorializing the dead undergo a revolution. If you or a loved one is considering cremation, I recommend you check out this lengthy article by Caren Chesler.
  • Seven Reasons Prayer Meetings Fail. Kevin DeYoung writes “While there is nothing in the Bible that says a church must have a stated weekly prayer meeting, there is plenty in the Bible that says Christians should regularly be praying together. So whether the “prayer meeting” is on the calendar each week or takes place every day across small groups, staff meetings, elder meetings, and other corporate gatherings, there ought to be many recurring opportunities for church members to pray with one another.”
  • Grace for Disruption and Change. Scotty Smith prays “Lord Jesus, I don’t like disruption, surprises, and change. I like newness, excitement, and adventure; but when it’s all said and done, I love to come home to the normal and the predictable. Grant me grace to be more flexible, because, until the Day of “all things new,” we live in a world of all things disrupt-able.”
  • No Love Lost: How Catholics (And Some Protestants) Go Wrong on Good Works. In this lengthy article, John Piper writes “Perhaps, then, in your conversations with Roman Catholic friends, you will be able to remove one obstacle to their seeing the beauty of justification by faith alone. You will be able to show them that you are not indifferent to holiness or to a life of love. Instead, your doctrine of justification by faith holds the double key to such holiness and love. The firstkey is that the biblical path to practical holiness in the eyes of man starts with the confidence that we are perfectly holy in the eyes of God. The second key is that justifying faith contains a superior satisfaction in God that severs the root of sin’s threats and promises.”


  • The Story Behind Billy Graham’s Prison-Build Casket. Bryon R. Johnson writes “(Billy) Graham died last Wednesday at 99 years old, and despite his fame and profound global influence, this humble religious leader will be buried in a simple plywood box built by an unlikely person. Richard Liggett, a convicted murderer, led a team of prisoners at the Louisiana State Penitentiary that built caskets for both Graham and his wife, Ruth, who died in June 2007 at age 87.”
  • Just As I Am. Michael W. Smith sings “Just as I Am” at the memorial service for Billy Graham in the U.S. Capitol on February 28. Smith sung “Above All” at Graham’s funeral on March 2. You can watch the funeral service here.
  • Enter into the Joy of Your Master. John Piper writes “When I received word that Billy Graham died last week, I began to sing the two signature songs of virtually every one of his crusades, “Just as I Am” and “How Great Thou Art.” And as I did, I saw how the seeds of Christian Hedonism had been sown. I sang those songs hundreds of times growing up.”
  • Larger Than Life: Billy Graham (1918–2018). In this short video, John Piper reflects on Billy Graham’s ministry and legacy. He says “When I step back and just ask what was his greatest impact, my answer is that thousands and thousands of people came out of darkness into light. Their eyes were opened through the work of the Holy Spirit in the mouth of Billy Graham.”

  • A Call to Thoughtful Vigilance. Robert Godfrey writes “Paul’s call to thoughtful vigilance is needed more today than ever. Ministers, elders, and church members today must be renewed in the truth by a full and careful knowledge of doctrine contained for us in the great confessions of the churches. Then we will know where and when to fight, as well as the truth for which we fight.”
  • How Do the Sacraments Help Us?C. Sproul writes “If we neglect the sacraments He has given His people and fail to understand the importance of the sacramental aspects of our faith, we are turning down precious helps that provide additional confirmation of His promises.”
  • Killing Sin Does Not Make You New. Marshall Segal writes “Put off whatever remains of the old you, but don’t stop just at killing sin. “We are [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” Ephesians 2:10. Put on, by the power of his Spirit, what no one else in the world can have any other way. God gave us new life in Christ not just to say no to sin, but to say yes to a thousand other things, in love.”
  • How Is the Gospel Race-Transcending? Watch this two-minute video fromB. Charles as he demonstrates the race-transcending nature of the gospel from Scripture.
  • Your Bible is Enough. On this episode of the Gospel Coalition podcast listen to a message on the sufficiency of Scripture from Kevin DeYoung, given at the 2016 Gospel Coalition New England Regional Conference.

Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week

  • God planned our salvation long before we ever sinned. His grace preceded our guilt, His love before our lawlessness. Steven Lawson
  • Christians aren’t hypocrites, we’re repentant sinners. Big difference. Jesus called out hypocrites and said they’re headed for hell. Christians know we’re sinners, and hypocrites pretend they’re not. Burk Parsons
  • Since God has been kind to us and chose to transfer our offenses to the cross, we who are Christian should be the kindest and least offendable people in the world. Scott Sauls
  • Reformed theology comforts believers with the truth that their Father in heaven not only cares for them but controls all things. Nathan W. Bingham
  • Prayer is an acknowledgment that our need of God’s help is not partial but total. Alistair Begg
  • If an unjust law is passed and enforced, then anyone coerced to comply with the law is a victim of injustice. C. Sproul
  • Free will without God’s grace is not free at all, but is the permanent bondservant of evil, since it cannot turn itself to good. Martin Luther
  • We are not our own. Therefore, as much as possible, let us forget ourselves and our own interests. John Calvin 
  • The great antidote to anxiety is to come to God in prayer. We are to pray about everything. Nothing is too big for Him to handle, and nothing is too small to escape His attention. Jerry Bridges
  • A culture in which every disagreement, correction, disappointment, or hurt feeling is treated as an occasion for victimhood belittles the experience of all who are true victims. Scott Sauls

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

Leave a Reply